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Do you use a slow cooker?


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On 8/5/2020 at 8:47 PM, Pilotman said:

I gave up on ours a few years back.  I just couldn't make it produce high quality results, despite following several recipes. I guess they are okay if you at work all day and want to come home and eat straight away, but frankly, we just never used it.  Its now gathering dust in the store room.  

I bought one two years ago, the large Otto version. My mistake as it's so big you can't easily experiment as the quantity of ingredients needed is quite substantial. If you're new to this, get a small one.

 

I wanted it to make a stew, my brother and cousin back in the UK use theirs a lot during the winter months to make stew and are always raving about the results. I followed a recipe I found on the internet and the meat turned out pretty good, some cheap, fatty cuts of beef from Friendship and they ended up falling apart just like canned stewing steak. The problem was that I just threw in all the veggies raw at the same time as I started cooking the stew, I thought 10 or 12 hours would be more than enough time to cook them through but it wasn't, they were still partly uncooked and hard by the end. Apparently you need to parboil things like potatoes and carrots and parsnips before starting to cook the stew.

 

So back to the drawing board, but then I found that Prime Foods, who do a good range of frozen ready-meals (their chili con carne is my favourite), had a beef stew so I bought one. Six minutes in the microwave and it was delicious, with that real, deep, rich stew flavour. I would have used more and varied veggies than they do but for 130 Baht it's decent value and much easier than using the slow cooker, which has remained gathering dust on top of the kitchen units ever since.

 

Anybody want to buy a large Otto slow cooker, lol?

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Recently I've been using it to make a spicy tomato chutney. When I made my first batch, It filled about 5 jam jars. I gave some to my wife to try. After about a week she asked me to make some mor

After reading this thread and looking up recipes on that Internet thingy, I bought a slow cooker yesterday from Big C Extra, an Otto SC-207 with a capacity of 3.5 Litres for 499 Baht. It is a clay pot

Yes, use regular to make batches of "bean soup" & stews 

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Soups, stews, sauces, etc. are a natural choice for a slow cooker.  For meats I really love pulled pork or lamb shoulder cooked low and slow.  Never tried it with Thai beef but that sounds like a good way to cook tough cuts of beef. 

 

As a working single parent I used to make slow cooker rice with chicken (thighs and legs) with a can of cream of chicken soup and a can of water.  The rice was always a sticky mess but dinner would be ready when I got home.  Now days my salt restricted diet means no canned soups but I make lots of soups in the crock pot that suit my diet.

 

I looked for a long time for a rack so I could cook meat above the bottom of the slow cooker and couldn't find one that would fit inside the slow cooker.  I finally found a folding stainless steal vegetable steamer rack with feet on eBay that works perfectly.  It had a plastic handle in the middle so you could lift it out of the pot you were using for steaming but that came off easily.


With meat I usually cook it for a long time on low then drain and retain any liquid.  A few minutes in a high temperature oven can brown the meat but I find I get acceptable results by setting the then dry slow cooker to high heat with the lid ajar for awhile.

 

The reserved liquid is used for making a gravy, sauce, or just to put on the meat when it is served.  Great for a jus sandwiches.

 

Depending on how long you cook it slow cooker lamb can be sliced easily or it can fall off the bone.  Do note that the lamb won't have a pink interior if that is what you like.  Add a simple fresh Thai mint sauce and some roasted vegetables and it puts most Pattaya restaurant Sunday Roast meals to shame.  I'm doing lamb shanks brazed in a tomato and wine sauce this week, once I open my wallet wide enough to buy a decent bottle of wine at the ridiculous prices here in Thailand.

 

Pork can be easily flavored by adding some liquid for the low and slow part of the cooking.  A friend uses root beer but Coke and beer work.  Don't use sugar free soft drinks, they make the meat taste horrible.  For chicken a bit of a lemon/lime drink like Sprite or 7-Up would be interesting but I prefer other seasonings and usually cook the chicken on the rack with the lid ajar so it is more like roasting.

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Would not want to miss it for anything.

To give you an example; take a nice piece of pork neck, marinate it a few hours/the night before. Take it out of the fridge an hour before you start, then sear the piece in a frying pan and move the meat with chunks of onions, garlic and veggies of your liking into the slow cooker. Add a cup (or two) of stock, close the lid and let it slow cook for four hours. 
The meat is tender to the level that you could spoon it and, depending on your marinade, the taste is to die for. Serve with mashed potatoes or any kind of pasta - you're sorted! 

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My slow cooker is the only way I will cook beef brisket or beef shanks and they turn out so amazing.  I'll get a pan with oil super hot and brown both sides of the meat and then put it in with either soup stock or water, add a can of beer or some red wine and veg or potatoes.  Sometimes I use the meat in burritos or on sandwiches.  

It also works great at parties, you can leave a cheese dip or chili or something in it and it will stay warm.  

I never ever use it on high, only on low setting.

Thank you to those who suggested an air fryer.  I've never used one and now I'm going to give it a try.  

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3 hours ago, AhFarangJa said:

I have been searching for what seems an eternity to buy one that is programmable. I find lots on line for sale in America, and U.K. However, all the models I see here are either too small, or, as on Lazada of a poor quality and basic design.....:sad:

I found a good one at Makro, dark brown color.  Thick clay pot and lid.  Slow cook my spaghetti sauce, taco/buritto sauces, Texas chili and beans, Sloppy Joe sauce, pot roast, vegetable soup, chicken, vegetables, etc...  Rotary switch selections- off, low, medium, auto.  I check/stir every hour until it starts to boil then every 20-30 minutes to keep it from sticking to the bottom.  Then finally set to low or off to let it sit.  I cook my meat and sauces in a skillet until I get a good blend and slight boil then in the slow cooker it goes.  My wife just went to buy ground pork, I'm choosing Mexican for this time.  Tacos and burrittos.  Always enough left over for the fridge, large tupperware, then wave or convection oven servings for warming.  Regretfully, my doctor took me off Thai food - MSG, salt, sugar, soy/fish sauce, fry foods but thankfully Thai spicey and garlic is ok.

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1 hour ago, peleid said:

I have a slow cooker which I brought over from England, must be 15 year old now, still going strong. I also use it once a week. Brilliant things, just chuck things in and forget about it

that was problem with it for me for me.  It was a bit like a computer; <deleted> in, <deleted> out, 

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